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What is Diwali? All About the 5-day Festival and its Legends
Diwali Celebrations extend beyond religions and cultures. From exchanging gifts to soaking one's home with light to worshipping lords, there's no wonder why it has turned out to be the most popular Indian festival. Diwali events stretch beyond just a day, are different from other festivals of India and are celebrated in detail for 5 days.
The oneness of this celebration of lights, bliss and grandeur is its balance of 5 different philosophies. Each individual of our nation thus marks Diwali with a true understanding to enliven our lives.
Take a look at each day of festivity around Diwali, and the importance of each day:
Dhanteras translates to Dhantrayodashi and marks the start of Diwali Events. Dhanteras falls on Trayodashi Krishna Tithi in Kartik Month. The first day of Diwali is known for its religious speciality as its a day Lord Dhanwantari(an avatar of Lord Vishnu and an ayurvedic practitioner among Gods) gifted the world one of the most revolutionary inventions- Ayurveda.
The legend says that he emerged during the churning of the ocean holding a pot full of Amrit in one hand. Anyone who drinks Amrit is blessed with immortality. On the other hand, he held a book of Ayurveda.
People seek the blessings of Lord Dhanwantari for good health. Moreover, people indulge in shopping for ornaments, garments and cookware this day.
Besides worshipping lord Dhanvantari, people have been worshipping Lord Yama this day to safeguard them from untimely death. A lit Diya with sweets is what people offer Lord Yama besides a Tulsi tree.
Another legend is that once there lived a young boy who was the son of King Hima. He was ill-fated to be bit by a snake soon after his wedding- which was on the fourth day. After his marriage, in order to save her husband, the wife never allowed him to fall asleep on the fourth day of marriage
She lit countless lamps all over the entrance of the house besides spreading out her ornaments. Then, she started to narrate tales and sing. Then came the Kala the god of death to take the husband away. He was in the form of a serpent who became deprived of vision due to the light from lamps all over.
He was unable to step into the palace so he started to get to the top of the gold and watched the duos. During dawn, Yama went away, thus relieving the husband of his doom. Thus Dhanteras became the day of Yamadeepam and thus devotees kept the lamps lit the entire night as an adoration to the death god.
Dhanteras ends with Narak Chaturdasi. It’s one of the types of Diwali celebrations. The legend says that Lord Vishnu’s 8th avatar, Sri Krishna annihilated Narakasura the demon king, thus putting an end to fear in the world.
It’s being said that we should smear our bodies with oil so that we are free from exhaustion so that we could celebrate the festival of lights with a spirit of devotion and vigour. Narak Chaturdasi is also a day of spending time only at one’s home and to repose. But, at this present time and era, everyone steps out of their homes to give presents and wishes.
Narak Chaturdasi is also called Kali Chaudas. Kali translates to dark and Chaudas translates to fourteenth. People in a few areas of India offer prayers to Kaali Devi. It's been said that it was Kali who has done away with Narakasura. Therefore, Narak Chaturdasi is also called as Kali Chaudas where one should become responsible and do good, making one's life heavenly.
If you’re wondering how many days is Diwali celebrated or on which day Diwali falls, then Diwali is celebrated for 5 days and is celebrated on October 24, 2022. People seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on this day. Homes and streets lit up with lights. People exchange sweets as well and conduct different poojas on Diwali.
It's being said that Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune shows up at each home, and showers blessings upon them. Believers tidy up their homes in advance, lit up their abodes and prepare holy offerings to please the lord. If the goddess has contended with her visit, then the more she graces upon us with good health and wealth.
During Govardhan pooja, people worship Child Krishna and offer prasad to the lord. In Gujarat, Govardhan pooja marks the day of their New year and is celebrated with immense fervour. Whereas in North India, weapons and related items are worshipped. Govardhan pooja day is a holiday for business establishments.
Another name of this event is annakoot, which translates to a heap of food. Those with faith offer a heap of prasad, thus symbolising Govardhan Hill, and lift their belief in god by taking refuge.
once lord Krishna asked his mother why are everyone seeking the blessings of Lord Indra, and she said he was responsible for rain. This was strongly opposed by the lord and he asks the villagers of Gokulam to worship Govardhana hills instead as the hills were a treasure trove of resources. They obey his words as he was the supreme God.
This infuriated Lord Indra who requests the rain god to punish the villagers with heavy rain for a week. Realising the curse, the villagers seek shelter at Lord Krishna, who saves the villagers from rain by taking the entire mountain just with his finger and making them sit under the mountain. Lord Indra gave up after 7 days, and people started paying respect to that mountain.
Diwali events come to an end on Bhai Dooj day. The story behind Bhai dooj is that years back, the Lord of death Yama paid a visit to his sibling, Yami. He blessed her by saying that those who pay her a visit shall be forgiven, thus attaining freedom from the cycle of birth and death.
Afterwards, siblings, especially males inquire about the well-being of their sisters and dish out sweets to their siblings, wishing them health, prosperity, and happiness.
As a continuation to the Diwali events, the female sibling offers aarti to their sibling and mark their forehead with red tikka. This tradition indicates the honest prayers of the sibling for the happiness of her brother. Plus, the siblings shower each other with gifts.
In conclusion, Diwali is a five-day festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. The festival is celebrated with lights, candles, and firecrackers. Diwali is also a time for exchanging gifts and feasting with family and friends.
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